oxidative stress

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An In Vitro System for Evaluation of Oxidative Stress and the Effects of Antioxidants

Benedikte Brogaard and Jørgen Clausen

Oxidative stress is defined as an imbalance between prooxidants and antioxidants. There is a need for a simple in vitro method for evaluation of the effects of oxidative stress and the effects of antioxidants. In the present study, we used primary cultures of human lymphocytes exposed to either paraquat (PQ) or mitomycin C, two prooxidants generating two different types of free-radicals formed either by P450-reductase or by DT-diaphorase, respectively. The toxicity was measured by estimation of DT-diaphorase and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activity, and by estimation of the level of malondialdehyde (MDA) as a function of time and increasing doses of the two prooxidants. The enzyme activities were related to both total DNA content and total protein content of cellular homogenate. All estimations were made by exposing human lymphocytes to increasing concentrations (up to 100μM) of the two prooxidants. However, since cellular death occurred at concentrations above 60μM, only data for exposure to concentrations below 70μM are presented. When the enzyme activities were expressed per cellular unit (i.e. per gram DNA) 30μM mitomycin C induced a 30% increase in DTdiaphorase activity. Similarly, a dose-dependent increase (maximum 100% increase) in DTdiaphorase activity was found after exposure to PQ (up to 60μM). Similar data were obtained when data were related to the total protein. Only a minor increase (11%) in GSH-Px activity was induced by 50μM mitomycin C, whereas 20–70μM PQ induced a 41% increase in GSH-Px activity. Both prooxidants induced more than a doubling in the cellular MDA concentration. These findings demonstrate that both DT-diaphorase and GSH-Px are up-regulated during oxidative stress. However, sensitivity to prooxidant-induced stress seems to depend to some extent on the chemistry of the free-radicals generated. Thus, the single-electron pyridium cations generated by PQ seem to be more toxic than the single-electron semi-quinones generated by mitomycin C. The same cellular system was used to evaluate the effects of antioxidants. Quercetin, a naturally occuring flavone, and selenium (sodium selenite), which is an essential part of glutathione peroxidase, were selected. PQ-induced stress and exposure to 5μg/ml quercetin for 4 hours decreased the MDA level in the medium by 11% and in the cells by 33%. PQ-induced stress and exposure to 160μg/l selenium for 18 hours reduced MDA levels similarly, by 19% in the medium and 14% in the cells. Both antioxidants induced a 50% reduction in GSHPx activity.
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Direct Determination of Glutathione S-transferase and Glucose-6-phosphate Dehydrogenase Activities in Cells Cultured in Microtitre Plates as Biomarkers for Oxidative Stress

Concepción García-Alfonso, Guillermo Repetto, Pilar Sanz, Manuel Repetto and Juan López-Barea

The enzymes glutathione S-transferase (GST) and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6PDH) are implicated in the defence against oxidative stress. GST is mainly involved in the conjugation of electrophilic compounds with glutathione (GSH), although some of its isoenzymes display peroxidase activity. G-6PDH and glutathione reductase regenerate NADPH and GSH, respectively, to restore the reduced intracellular redox status following oxidative stress. Enzymatic assays for GST and G-6PDH were adapted and optimised to permit the direct in vitro determination of the effects of toxicants which induce oxidative stress in cells on microtitre plates, thereby avoiding the need to prepare cell-free extracts. To optimise the conditions of the enzymatic assays, GST activity was measured at substrate concentrations of 1–3mM GSH and 1–3mM 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene, while G-6PDH activity was measured at 7.5–37.5mM glucose-6-phosphate and 55–275mM NADP. Both enzymatic activities were directly proportional to cell number up to a density of 1 × 105 cells/well. The effects on GST and G-6PDH activities of three toxicants which induce oxidative stress — paraquat, iron (II) chloride and iron (III) chloride — were compared in cultured Vero cells to validate the new assays. Specific GST activity increased to 145% and 171% compared to the controls in cells treated with 5mM paraquat and 5mM iron (II) chloride, respectively, but was inhibited after exposure to 25mM iron (III) chloride. Specific G-6PDH activity increased to 136% compared to the control after exposure to 5mM paraquat, but was inhibited in cells exposed to 5mM iron (II) chloride and 25mM iron (III) chloride.
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Biochemical Responses in Aquatic Plants as Markers of Environmental Contamination

Pirjo Lindström-Seppä, Katalin Urban, Ulla Honkalampi-
Hämäläinen and Sashwati Roy

This short review gives several examples of the current status of xenobiotic biotransformation reactions and oxidative stress responses in plants as biomarkers of organic pollution in aquatic environments. Based on previous basic knowledge, several biomonitoring programmes have been successfully applied during the last decade.
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In Vitro Toxicity: Mechanisms, Alternatives and Validation — A Report from the 19th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Scandinavian Society for Cell Toxicology

Anna Forsby

The Scandinavian Society for Cell Toxicology (SSCT) has arranged annual scientific meetings since 1983. These workshops were the forum for the Multicentre Evaluation of In Vitro Cytotoxicity (MEIC) programme. Along with the MEIC programme, which was completed in 1998, a wide range of topics relating to cytotoxicity have been discussed. The meetings have also given an opportunity for graduate students and young scientists to present their work to an international audience. At the same time, experts in the fields of in vitro toxicity have been invited as speakers. The 19th SSCT scientific meeting, which was held in 2001 at Sørup Manor in Ringsted, Denmark, was no exception. The meeting consisted of four sessions: mechanisms of toxicity; environmental toxicological testing; alternatives to animal experiments; and validation of in vitro tests.
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Evaluation of Mitochondrial Function in Isolated Rat Hepatocytes and Mitochondria during Oxidative Stress

Zuzana Cvervinková, Halka Lotková, Pavla Krvivaková, Tomásv Rousvar, Otto Kucvera, Lukas Tichý, Miroslav Cvervinka, and Zdenevk Drahota

The majority of toxic agents act either fully or partially via oxidative stress, the liver, specifically the mitochondria in hepatocytes, being the main target. Maintenance of mitochondrial function is essential for the survival and normal performance of hepatocytes, which have a high energy requirement. Therefore, greater understanding of the role of mitochondria in hepatocytes is of fundamental importance. Mitochondrial function can be analysed in several basic models: hepatocytes cultured in vitro; mitochondria in permeabilised hepatocytes; and isolated mitochondria. The aim of our study was to use all of these approaches to evaluate changes in mitochondria exposed in vitro to a potent non-specific peroxidating agent, tert- butylhydroperoxide (tBHP), which is known to induce oxidative stress. A decrease in the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) was observed in cultured hepatocytes treated with tBHP, as illustrated by a significant reduction in Rhodamine 123 accumulation and by a decrease in the fluorescence of the JC-1 molecular probe. Respiratory Complex I in the mitochondria of permeabilised hepatocytes showed high sensitivity to tBHP, as documented by high-resolution respirometry. This could be caused by the oxidation of NADH and NADPH by tBHP, followed by the disruption of mitochondrial calcium homeostasis, leading to the collapse of the MMP. A substantial decrease in the MMP, as determined by tetraphenylphosphonium ion-selective electrode measurements, also confirmed the dramatic impact of tBHP-induced oxidative stress on mitochondria. Swelling was observed in isolated mitochondria exposed to tBHP, which could be prevented by cyclosporin A, which is evidence for the role of mitochondrial permeability transition. Our results demonstrate that all of the above-mentioned models can be used for toxicity assessment, and the data obtained are complementary.
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Twenty-first Century Challenges for In Vitro Neurotoxicity

Robert A. Smith

During the last 40 years, studies incorporating in vitro methodologies have greatly advanced our understanding of human nerve cell biology. Attempts have been made to apply these to investigations of neurotoxicity. Due to the complexity of the nervous system, underpinned by an array of integrated interactions between a host of cell types, it is concluded that, at present, alternative neural models are most successful in determining the underlying mechanisms which can cause perturbation of normal functioning of the nervous system, both in adults and during the embryonic period. The use of tiered batteries of test models has been proposed in screening programmes for neurotoxicity, with the generation of much encouraging data in laboratories across the globe. This review aims to discuss the development of neural alternatives, considers the various model systems available, and highlights specific neuronal endpoints which can be tested, in addition to the cytotoxic evaluation of neuronal viability. Developments in molecular and stem cell biology, which are appropriate to neural tissue, and which offer the prospect of exciting advances for the next decade, are cited.
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